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How To Watch Revenge Of The Sith

(See also: How To Watch The Phantom Menace, How To Watch Attack of the Clones.)

Long, long ago, in a childhood far, far away, I was a child obsessed with Star Wars. By the age of twelve I already had every available piece of Star Wars trivia crammed into my head (diameter of the Death Star? 120 kilometers), including the knowledge that there would be nine films in total. Once, after gushing about the series to my grandmother (who couldn't have cared less), I was struck by a sudden, sorrowful realization, and blurted out "it's too bad you won't be alive to see them all."

Well, Grammy got the last laugh: Lucus truncated his series to a meager six films and the matriarch is still around. But if the thought that grandma would not live to see all of the Star Wars films was a major bummer to me at the time, the truth would have been devastating: That, by the time the final film rolled around, I would be so disinterested in the whole franchise that I wouldn't even bother to see it in a theater.

I tried to psyche myself up Revenge of the Sith by rewatching the first two films in the trilogy -- and, as an aide to readers who wanted to do likewise, I even gave tips on how to fast-forward through the boring and stupid parts. (See: How To Watch The Phantom Menace and How To Watch Attack Of The Clones.) And it actually worked -- for a few days, there, I was vaguely fired up to see Episode III, especially since everyone kept raving about how it was "the best in the series since The Empire Strikes Back" (pretty faint praise, when you think about it). But when The Queen and I found ourselves with an evening free we had to choose between Revenge Of The Sith and Batman Begins, and we opted for the latter. I like to think that my twelve year-old self would have taken some comfort in the fact that we still saw a movie about an awesomely cool awesome guy in a black cape and mask, albeit one unable to choke people to death with his mind.

Anyway, last weekend I finally watched Revenge of the Sith. And yes, it was quite a bit better than the other two, although that's akin to saying "Moe was the funniest Stooge."

My two previous "How To Watch" guides were so people could cram in anticipation of Sith without having to endure the full 4+ hours of Episodes I & II, so doing breakdown of this film might be pointless. On the other hand, I'm sure there's someone out there who, like me, wants to watch Episode III just to get the whole thing over, and wouldn't mind being steered away from the superfluous stuff. And so, here we go again: How To Watch Revenge Of The Sith:

Start FF timeEnd FF timeElapsed TimeWhat you're missingWhy you might want to watch it
9:1611:222:06How many times have we seen this in the prequels? Heroes need to get from point A to point B, but Lucus can't just have them exit stage left and then arrive at their destination a moment later, noooooo. Instead there has to be a "travel" scene, full of sound and fury and signifying absolutely nothing in the overall narrative. If these films were resumes, this is what we would call "padding." In this instance, Anikan and Obi Wan need to get from the hanger of a Federation Cruiser to another floor, and en route there's an extended sequence of assorted elevator trouble, which includes this scintillating exchange:
Obi Wan: Did you press the stop button?

Anikan: No, did you?

Obi wan: No.

Who says Lucas can't do dialog?
At one point we learn that R2-D2 has tenacle-like prehensile appendages that he can use like hands to catch and minipulate things. In Clones, you'll recall, it was revealed that R2-DT could MOTHERFUCKING FLY! So you might want to watch this sequence and then fantasize about what Episodes IV-VI would have been like if they had continued to give R2-D2 Astounding New Abilities in each film. Return Of The Jedi probably would have ended with R2-D2 killing young Anikan with his hitherto unrevealed time-travelling lasers.
15:2323:368:13Another "travelling" scene with more elevator zaniness (memo to Lucus: Please. Stop); the Federation Cruiser crash lands on the surface of Coruscant.If you want to watch any of the later General Grievous scenes, you'll need watch this one to see his escape. Personally, I found Grievous to be an unsatisfying and ultimately unneeded character, and wouldn't have minded if he'd just died here. With Count Dooku dead, Lucus basically needs a stopgap Bad Guy until Anakin's conversion to the Dark Side (sorry -- total spoiler, there!) so that he can intersperse the plot with fight scenes.
29:1030:281:18People told me that Lucus had mercifully kept the romance stuff to a minimum in Sith; they didn't warn me that he accomplishes this by condensing all the cheese from Attack of the Clones into this single, one minute scene. When Lucus goes back and re-edits Sith (because you know he's going to be tinkering with these things until the moment he dies), let's hope he takes the opportunity to delete this sequence entirely and replace it some shots of teens doing some totally radical skateboard tricks or something.If the action scenes have you worried that you might die from testosterone poisoning, this will serve as a perfect antidote.
42:1742:370:20By this point it's clear that even Lucus knows that the audience is sick of his "romantic" "dialogue," because he now apparently feels the need to suckerpunch the viewer with it. This scene starts out as a fairly interesting political discussion between Anakin and Padme, but then, just when you let your guard down: bam! "Hold me," Padme blurts out, while you scramble to raise your defensive shields. "Like you did on Naboo." Lucus, you sneaky little bastard.It's the most mock-worthy scene in the film.
46:2346:400:17One of the goal of these fast-forwards guides has been to rid the prequels of any and all mention of midichlorians. I was kind of taking a gamble in doing this in the first two guides, since it was still remotely possible that Lucus might shed enough light on them in episode III to make them retroactively not-stupid. But I'm here to tell you now (and will explicate further in "Analysis," below), that he does not. So if you want to skip the only mention of them in Sith, you'll need to lose these 17 seconds.Unlike most edits, this falls right in the middle of a scene. But it's a small sacrifice to make for a midichlorians-free film.
45:431:00:5114:08This is the first half of the climatic Obi Wan Kanobi v. General Grevious showdown, which involves (of course), a lightsaber duel. As I mentioned above, I think Grevious should have been junked in the first half an hour, and this scene does nothing to change my mind. I mean, seriously: how many lightsaber battles have we seen now over the course of the six films? And you already know there's going to be at least one more at the end of this one. Lucus tries to keep them interesting by continually upping the ante -- Darth Maul had a double-ended lightsaber, Clones ended with Yoda going all Spider-Man on Count Dooku's ass, and now Grevious employs four -- count 'em, four! -- lightsabers at once. But the whole thing is starting to remind me of the "number of blades in the disposable razor" arms race.The fight is actually pretty cool, unnecessary thought it may be.
1:05:211:07:362:15Second half of Kanobi v. Grevious showdownSee above.
1:09:021:10:36DON'T CUT THIS SCENE! In fact, watch it twice. It involves Anakin and Padme, in different parts of the galaxy, each looking out windows and presumably thinking about each other. It's the only segment in all three prequels that actually works as far of the romance goes -- presumably because (a) neither actor opens their mouth and ruins things by emoting, and (b) Christensen and Portman aren't in close proximity, so their astounding lack of chemistry isn't glaringly obvious.Because against all odds, it's good.
1:19:421:20:230:41If you're ditching the General Grevious tangent, you'll need to cut out the first 40 seconds of this scene to have a clean subplot-ectomy.Again: not bad, just superfluous.
2:13:392:20:006:21End Credits.You want to savor the fact that, at long last, the Star Wars saga is over. Sweet, sweet closure.

Total time saved: 35:39.

Analysis: Yeah, not bad. It would be considered a fairly mediocre movie if it didn't have the whole Star Wars cachet going for it, but it certainly hurdles over the bar that was set so low with Phantom Menace.

Many people told me that Sith was all action, with little plot. I didn't find this to be the case. There was plenty of story in there, but, unlike Phantom and Clones, it all served to move things forward (instead of, as was often the case in the prior two films, plot being introduced via infodump, where one character halts the action and launches into a soliloquy wherein he explains some long and convoluted aspect of galactic history or politics).

The midichlorians ultimately amounted to nothing. It seemed as if Lucus introduced them in Episode I to explain something that didn't need explaining (The Force), but wound up generating more questions than he answered. So Anakin didn't have a father? And he was maybeconceived by the midichlorians, somehow? And Darth Sidious' former master may or may not have had something to do with that? I did a little poking around on the web to see if maybe all this stuff was addressed in the novelization or something, but, alas, no. Thanks to the midichlorians these prequels have more loose ends than a yarn store, and Lucus makes no attempt to tie them up.

But while I was researching the midichlorians, I looked up a couple of other questions I had about the story. Here are the answers.

Why, of all the Jedi, did only Obi Wan and Yoda disappear when they died? I got my Revenge of the Sith DVD from NetFlix, which means it came sans bonus disc. If I had all the extra goodies, though, apparently I could have watched a deleted scene that made sense of this. You know how, at the end of the film, Yoda tells Obi Wan about "one who has returned from the netherworld of the Force to train me, your old Master, Qui-Gon Jinn"? Well, there was a scene before that where Yoda explains that Qui-Gon Jinn had contacted him from Beyond, and revealed, among other things, that he had learned how to become so attuned with the Force that one could actually merge with it upon his death. This imformation is imparted to Yoda and, somewhere between episode II and IV, on to Obi Wan as well. That seems like a fairly significant plot point to omit, if you ask me.

What was the "Prophecy" again, and why didn't Anakin fulfill it? The Prophecy is mentioned often in the prequels, but nobody ever tells us exactly what it says. The closest we get is this exchange:

OBI-WAN: With all due respect, Master, is [Anakin] not the Chosen One? Is he not to destroy the Sith and bring balance to the Force?

MACE: So the prophecy says.

YODA: A prophecy . . . that misread could have been.

Later, after defeating Anakin in combat, Obi Wan shouts "You were the Chosen One! It was said that you would, destroy the Sith, not join them!"

My interpretation was that Anakin does fulfill the prophecy -- three films later when he kills the Emperor and himself in the process, thereby reducing the number of card-carrying Sith in the universe to zero. But in searching USENET for other people's opinions, I found many arguing that Anakin fulfilled the "balance to the Force" part of the prophecy in Sith by setting into motion the events which left an equal number of Sith (Vader and Sidious) and Jedi (Obi Wan and Yoda) alive.

The problem is that The Prophecy is never clearly stated anywhere -- not in the films, not in the novelizations, not in the voluminous additional Star Wars material that exists, and not in any interviews with Lucus. And the two things we know about The Prophecy -- that the Sith get destroyed and the Force gets balanced -- seem contradictory (how is the Force "balanced" if all the Dark Side guys are dead?) My conclusion: The Prophecy is just a plot device, and only a fool would waste any time trying to figure it out. WISH I'D KNOWN THAT 15 MINUTES AGO!!

Jumpin' jehosephat, are those actually Hayden Christensen abs?! At at 31:08, Anakin saunters out of his bedroom shirtless adorned with abs rarely seen outside of a Captain America comic book. Frankly they looked a little too perfect to be true, and I couldn't help but wonder if maybe Lucus had added a little computer-generated definition. Unfortunately, this proved rather difficult to research, as searching Google for "Hayden Christensen shirtless" returned about 218,000 websites aimed at teenage girls and gay men. Switching to Google Images verified that Christensen is a pretty buff guy, though. One thing id for certain: if he had devoted the time he spent doing sit-ups to acting classes, these last two films woulda been a lot more bearable.

Okay, these movies weren't so great, but did get me marginally excited about Star Wars again. Are there any good books in the series? I trolled through a bunch of Amazon reviews and lists, and consensus seems to be that the creme de la Star Wars creme is: The Thrawn Trilogy (Heir To The Throne, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command), set five years after Return of the Jedi (and the very first non-novelizations Star Wars books ever written); the Han Solo Trilogy (The Paradise Snare, The Hutt Gambit, and Rebel Dawn), set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope; and Shatterpoint, a Mace Windu novel set during the Clone Wars.

Posted on December 20, 2005 to Movies


My major gripes with RotS are as follows (caveats: only saw the movie once, pretty much hated Episodes I-III, Episode IV rules eternal, I think Lucas is a hack of the first order:)

- Anakin's conversion to the Dark Side left me with the impression that he was gullible/dumb/both. I mean, the whole Jedi Council/Palpatine manuvering was so transparent. And the crux of the conversion - Mace Windu is just about to ventilate Palpatine, Anakin intercedes, Mace gets blown away and at this point it's pretty clear that Palpatine's a bad guy. So Anakin glowers and frowns a bit more and then starts slaughtering children. WTF?

- The end battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin - good stuff, and I like how Anakin falls to his own hubris (maybe should have spent more time practicing those Force-assisting leaps between bouts of slaughtering innocents) but then Obi-Wan... who pretty much regarded Anakin as a BROTHER (albeit the kind of a**hole brother who kills all of your drinking buddies while you're out) just stands there and watches Anakin be ENVELOPED BY LAVA until HIS HEAD BURSTS INTO FLAMES. I mean, damn, I can see why Vader was so pissed off in Episode IV! Obi-Wan didn't even have to touch the guy, he could have just dragged Anakin, oh, say 2 feet up the scree with the Force. Or leaned over and snipped off Anakin's crispy head with his 'saber. Nope! Just pontificates a bit and wanders back to his ship.

Thus endeth the rant. Great blog, BTW.

- Wait! One more! Throughout all six movies we're getting it hammered into our skulls that blasters are CRUDE, 'sabers are ELEGANT. So after ten minutes of waving lightsabers around at Grievous (in cheesy vegematic mode) what does Obi-Wan finally do? Finishes him off with a blaster! Shouldn't he have to pay some sort of Jedi misconduct fine for that?

Posted by: rcs on December 22, 2005 4:51 PM

I dunno how good the Thrawn trilogy is (I haven't read any recent Star Wars books), but they're hardly the first non-novelization Star Wars books.

The first one was Alan Dean Foster's Splinter of the Mind's Eye, which takes place after Episode IV, involves all the main characters from it, and was turned into alternate continuity by Empire (it was published before that came out).

After that, Brian Daley wrote three novels about Han Solo and Chewbacca which took place in an area of the galaxy (whichever galaxy it is) called the Corporate Sector, as opposed to within the Empire - presumably to avoid clashing with the movie continuity. I liked them when I was 12, but they haven't aged well.

Posted by: Dan Blum on December 22, 2005 5:26 PM

Doidn't you know that all cats are communists? Just ask them who their Leader is...

Posted by: tdutt on December 22, 2005 5:44 PM

Have you heard GeeksOn.com's "Episode III: The Abridged Script"? Hilariously lampoons many of the same points that you address in this entry. NSFW (for occasional language): http://www.geekson.com/audio/Star_Wars_Ep_3.mp3

Posted by: Shane on December 22, 2005 7:44 PM

Have you heard GeeksOn.com's "Episode III: The Abridged Script"? Hilariously lampoons many of the same points that you address in this entry. NSFW (for occasional language): http://www.geekson.com/audio/Star_Wars_Ep_3.mp3

Posted by: Shane on December 22, 2005 7:44 PM

Lucas just has a way of accidentally putting his foot through his canvas. Example: Obi-Wan cries out to Anakin, who he believe he is leaving to die: "You were supposed to be the chosen one! You were supposed to destroy the Sith, not join them!" Now, that's not perfect writing, but Ewan McGregor is enough of an actor to actually build some emotion out of them. Then comes Anakin's reply, due to go into movie legend:


Aaaaand there goes that potential moment. But I will say that the third at least had potential for Lucas to ruin, unlike the first two.

Posted by: Andy James on December 22, 2005 8:28 PM

Actually, Grievous is a much more interesting character if you followed the backstory on him, including his parts in the Clone Wars cartoons. If you only got the parts actually portrayed in the movie, though, he's definitely not so hot.

Posted by: David on December 22, 2005 8:48 PM

Would you guys can it?
I still haven't seen Return of the Jedi yet.

(My son did drag me to see a midnight showing of Revenge of the Sith. I woke up during something called General Order 66. All I remember is that the 400-lb Jedi seated next to me was quietly sobbing.)

Posted by: Stephen Glenn on December 22, 2005 9:24 PM

Hey, just pointing out that although the Sith shown in the films are pretty evil, there were supposed to have been benevolent sith, too.
How it breaks down is the Sith use passion as their channel for the force, rather than meditation. So it's more the Jedi use the balance of the force for power, and the Sith make waves in it for power.

Whats really sad is I wasn't really ever much of a geek about Star Wars and I knew that.

Posted by: S B on December 22, 2005 10:37 PM

I've read the first 30 or so books to come after ROTJ, and while I will admit that the Thrawn Trilogy is probably my favourite, they were also the first that I read, which got me into reading these in the first place. The X-Wing series of books (10 or 11? I think?) are all enjoyable, and the Corellia trilogy is pretty good too. I've just started on the "New Jedi Order" series of books, and they're quite different, and a fair bit darker, than the other books. Enjoyable, to be sure.

Posted by: Ryan Waddell on December 23, 2005 12:53 AM

beneve sith: i believe luke's children, the twins make a choice like that if i remember right. one meditates and the other thinks the force should be actively used to premptively bring about peace.

Posted by: powers on December 23, 2005 7:19 AM

Just a thought here about the whole prophecy thing. When Yoda says that it could easily be misinterpreted (Or 'easily interpreted mis could be it") I think that's a clue that the prophecy doesn't refer to Anakin, but to Luke. Luke eventually does destroy the Sith, and probably brings the force as close to being in balance as possible in Return of the Jedi. The only thng he didn't do was wipe out those damn Ewoks.

Posted by: Not a geek...really! on December 23, 2005 7:36 AM

ok, two points:

"If the action scenes have you worried that you might die from testosterone poisoning, this will serve as a perfect anecdote. "

I think you'll want to update "anecdote" to "antidote."

Second point: If you're really looking for some good Star Wars novels, I'd suggest "Truce At Bakura" because it's the first one (taking place immediately after Return of the Jedi) and then "The Courtship Of Princess Leia" because I swear to you you will never see a more impressive display of Jedi abilities - that's still my favorite stand-alone novel.

As far as your suggestions I whole heartedly agree. Timothy Zahn is an amazing author.

And finally, "Shadows of the Empire" is a fun read (if not necessarily a good book) because it intertwines *almost* seamlessly with the events of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Sort of a "this is what was going on with the bad guys while the good guys were getting their butts kicked across the galaxy on the big screen"


Posted by: Tom on December 23, 2005 8:06 AM

You forgot to cut the scene where the Frankenstein monster comes alive. Er, I mean, the scene where Vader gets his new suit and Christensen cries "Noooo" when he learns that he's killed Padme and his child. We weren't the only ones in the theater laughing out loud when we saw that ham-fisted bit of directing.

Posted by: Hibernator on December 23, 2005 9:18 AM

Okay, my favorite gaffe in ROtS has to be the bit at the end where Obi-Wan, Yoda and Jimmy Smits are sitting around the table trying to figure out what to do with the twins.

"We need to hide them somewhere where the Sith will never look for them," they muse.

"I KNOW! Let's stash one with a high-ranking Imperial Senator, and the other *with his family* on Tatooine! No one will *ever* think to look for them there!"

Palm, meet forehead.

Plus, Anakin's supposed to be some kind of galactic celebrity -- a veritable household name -- and they don't even bother to change Luke's last name? Verrry sneaky.

Probably my biggest disappointment with the prequels was finding out just how stupid the Jedi once were. They could sure as hell fight, but not so much with the brain calistenics.

"The dark side surrounds Palpatine."

Yeah... um, maybe because he's EVIL?!? He cackles and he has the hamster thing going on! What more do you need? Force lightning?!?


Posted by: Isis on December 23, 2005 9:39 AM

The thing I don't get is how a movie can be considered good, or even mediocre, when the acting and dialogue both are as bad as they were in RotS. Whatever satisfaction I might have felt at having this chapter of the saga completed was ruined by the fact that it was a steaming pile of crap. I can only hope that history is kind to us who have suffered, and Lucas' legacy is recorded as one of failure, not triumph.

Posted by: spygeek on December 23, 2005 10:00 AM

I love this! After we went to see the Boston Museum of Science's Star Wars Exhibit on November 11, I wrote in a similar mindset on my blog (shameless plug) http://susansenator.com/blog/2005_11_01_archive.html
mostly because I was so bent out of shape about Lucas' treatment of Padme, how she goes from being a reasonably legitimate heroine/empress/warrior type in Episode 1 to being Anakin's arm candy, just some glorified brooding hen in Barbarella drag by Episode 3. The Museum of Science must have agreed, because there is not one reference to Padme Amidala, even though there could have at least been a fabulous display of costumes.

Posted by: Susan Senator on December 23, 2005 11:06 AM

Have you heard GeeksOn.com's "Episode III: The Abridged Script"? Hilariously lampoons many of the same points that you address in this entry ...

From the MP3: Anakin, staring out the window: "How pathetic is it that the most well-acted scene between us is the one in which we are in separate buildings and have no line?"

Hah! I guess I wasn't the only one to notice that, then.

Posted by: Matthew on December 23, 2005 11:36 AM

It's funny how people see the original movies as a kid and expect to have the same reactions to a movie made for kids (or, as in Sith, slightly older kids) when they're 40.

Plus, these are supposed to be similar to serial movies of the 40s - Shakespeare they ain't.

They were never intended to be.

Posted by: Brian on December 23, 2005 1:29 PM

Brian - go watch the original three movies and then you can truly compare the two experiences (old trilogy, new trilogy).

The directing in the new ones is ham-handed, to be sure, and the writing was atrocious, but what was missing completely until Ep3 was the camaraderie of the characters, plus noone was all that sympathetic a character aside from Qui-Gon, who gets killed pretty early on in the new trilogy. There was some good camaraderie _briefly_ between Obi-Wan and Anakin at the beginning of Ep3, and that's about it.

There's no Han Solo type character in the new trilogy at all, and as bad as the whining in Ep4 was, it paled in comparison to Anakin in Eps 2 and 3, so he's hardly all that sympathetic a character one Hayden C steps into the role. And the directing of the little Anakin in Ep1 was atrocious (the kid IS a better actor than that in things I'd seen him do before Ep1).

The few things worthy of one's time in the new trilogy:

the pod race

the final battle between Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan and Darth Maul = the best thing about the whole new trilogy

R2D2 kicking ass

Aaaand, that's about it. The Yoda vs Dooku battle was completely over the top, though fun to see, as was the Yoda vs Palpatine battle in Ep3. I thought the final Anakin vs Obi-Wan battle in Ep3 was overrated, with way too much empasis on the lava surroundings for effect.

If you want to see a great movie, go see the new King Kong. (_waaaay_ better than Narnia)

Posted by: Timothy McClanahan on December 23, 2005 2:35 PM

I too looked forward to the 'first three' movies since childhood, when I first learned that they were planned.

Then I saw Phantom, and I wept. Then I saw Clones, and I despaired. So much so that now, despite years of waiting for the saga to 'be complete', my whole reaction to Sith is:

"Well, I have to watch it. Just to finish the damn thing. But not now". I won't pay any kind of money (good or bad) to see it.

I refuse to allow myself to anticpate anything good about any movie now, ever. Damn you, Lucas.

Posted by: sibyl on December 23, 2005 10:28 PM

"One thing id for certain."

Best. Freudian slip. Ever.

Posted by: Luke Seemann on December 24, 2005 12:18 PM

Thanks to Weird Al Yankovic and the geekson link that Shane posted, I know the plots of "The Phantom Menace" and "Revenge of the Sith" without actually having to have sat through the movies. Anyone know a parody of "Attack of the Clones" so I can make it a clean sweep?

Posted by: C. on December 24, 2005 5:59 PM

My girlfriend's biggest problem with this installment (and I call it an installment because it's not over yet... I can't help but feel Lucas will do a seventh, edited from his death bed... he won't be able to resist. In this day and age everything comes back for one more go around... remember, we all thought Miami Vice had gone the way of the dodo...) was Padme's death.

"She died of female problems... we can't explain it," was her summary of the scene, and she goes on to surmise exactly how much George Lucas knows about females. Hilarious stuff.

As for the prophecy, my assumption was that the Jedi were all wrong about Anakin and it's actually Luke who the prophecy speaks of. That makes a bit more sense to me than Anakin who, by your reasoning, does bring an end to the sith, but you'd figure those who made the prophecy might have warned about all the death and destruction he'd wreak first.

Nice synopsis of the film though, and for the toy mongers out there, Star Wars Transformers anyone?

Posted by: Lee on December 26, 2005 9:40 AM

Re: Hayden Christensen's abs -- they're real. Lucas made Christensen bulk up before shooting to show a more adult, hardened, wartime Anakin. Christensen said he gained 25 pounds of muscle (which he immediately lost post-RotS) and was on a strict exercise/eating regimen in addition to his many hours of lightsaber fight training.

Posted by: Susan V. on December 26, 2005 2:08 PM

Errrr, did it crack you up too to learn that the jedis were attacked by vibro-droids at the beginning of the movie :) ?

It really sounded naughty, that! Some uncut subplots of the movie should be labeled "h0t bot-on-jedi action free downloads"

Posted by: atma on December 27, 2005 5:40 AM

Regarding Star Wars novels:

Thrawn Trilogy--I agree; absolutely brilliant. It's perfect Star Wars style, and very good plot, character development, etc.

X-Wing series--It reads like war novels, but splits the style of the action between pilot dogfighting and commando infiltration missions. Also, they do such a great job with developing the characters and comraderie, that you really care about them and are floored when some of them die. Yes, he does allow a few of them to be killed, which I really admire of the author. It gives it a much more realistic war-time feel. The books really build in a continuous story, so don't skip around on the order of the books.

I, Jedi--This is my favorite Star Wars novel. It focuses on the journey of one of the characters from the X-Wing series. He discovers that his grandfather was a Jedi, and learns to uncover and develop his own Jedi abilities. It shows several interesting aspects of the force, like how different Jedi have different natural strengths in certain types of abilities. It also shows the process of a Jedi making his own lightsaber, which I had always wanted to see. Also, the main character was originally in CorSec, the Corellian Security force(Han Solo was from Corellia). So he has this kind of cop/detective thing going on too, which still kind of holds a place in his thinking and identity.

Posted by: Rocky on December 27, 2005 8:41 AM

In terms of good novels spawned by the Star Wars universe, I have to mention Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter. Darth Maul was pretty much the only good thing to come out these new prequels. And of course Lucas, being the great director and decesion maker that he is, decides to kill him off. The perfect thing for a immesurably flawed series. Anyway, 'Shadow Hunter' does a great job of combining action with a bit of insight into the Jedi and their use of the Force. It even has a quick cameo by Obi Wan. Anyway, I'd recommend this book as well as the New Jedi Order series.

Posted by: BigGeek on December 27, 2005 1:27 PM

I 8th the notion that the Timothy Zahn novels are great. You should also check out the Dark Empire comics. They were some of the first continuation comics that Dark Horse put out. The emperor returns and luke gets evil. Cam Kennedy's art is amazing.

Posted by: Spencer Carnage on December 27, 2005 3:27 PM

The last scene where Obi-Wan walks off on Mannakin really bugged me, too, but then I decided this was sort of a summary of the whole of eps 1-3: the Jedi during this phase of history were hopelessly flawed. Between their ridiculous blind spot concerning Palpatine and their utterly clumsy treatment of Mannakin ("Thanks for the tip, kid, now stay home while the trustworthy types handle this without proper backup"), not to mention Mace Windu vacillating between "We don't whack people" and "That's it, I'm whacking Palpatine," it's no surprise the Republic fell. What's hard to understand, really, is how it had continued to function for as long as it had (and why Palpatine even bothered to knock down the Senate and make his control over the government so visible).

Wikipedia has a good entry on the Sith.

There is also an interesting analysis of how the Endorian ecology may have been destroyed at the end of Ep. VI here: http://theforce.net/swtc/holocaust.html and an attempted refutation here: http://www.swrpgnetwork.com/files/endor/endortruth20040810.pdf

Just in case anyone has too much time on their hands....

Posted by: emdalton on December 27, 2005 7:55 PM

In an interview in Entertainment Weekly, Lucas states explicitly that Vader fulfills the Prophecy in "Jedi."

Posted by: Jason on December 28, 2005 11:02 AM

Ok I gotta step in...the screen play to sith just plain blew. I'm in the same camp as you all...loved SW as kid...perhaps I'm more jaded now...dunno. But might I suggest reading the following set of books:

Star Wars: Labrynth of Evil by James Luceno
This takes place just before "Sith" and explains how Palpatine came to be kidnapped. Luceno does an amazing job setting the table for the emotional battle that Anakin will come to encounter.

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (Novelization) by Matthew Woodring Stover
MUCH MUCH MUCH better read than the movie. It definately delves deeper into Anakins conflict and gives a much rockier slide into the dark side. The movie was all like:

Palpatine: Anakin you know the dark side has powers some would call un-natural...

Anakin (Interupting): Shhh...you had me at "dark side".

This book actually made you feel for Anakin, and not in that "Touched by an Angel" kind of way either.


Star Wars: Dark Lord: Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno.
Ok so I'm only half way through it, but so far the only weird thing to the book is that the title requires two colons to type. As in his previous book, Luceno has a knack for getting into Anakins head. It DOES shed a lot of light on the midcholorians thing and the siths role in Anakins rise and fall. A MUST READ FOR ANY VADER FAN.

If you read these three books together, I think you will come away with that rewarding Star Wars Warm Fuzzy (tm).

Posted by: Ryan on December 28, 2005 4:08 PM

I wish I'd read this post a couple of days ago, when I finally got a chance to see the movie! Alas, my brother downloaded it and the prologue was in Russian so I didn't have any context for the first part of the movie. Turns out I really didn't need it.

I'm not a super Star Wars geek, though a fan since childhood. I found this movie to be the best of the three, yet it totally made the previous two redundant and unnecessarily complicated. I was happy this one was much simpler, though.

Re. Padme's death: I seem to recall a scene in ROtJ where Luke asks Leia if she remembers her mother, her REAL mother, and she did, "just feelings, mostly" or something like that. I'd assumed Padme had lived longer, then, but didn't, obviously. Just another annoying hole in the plot...

Posted by: wandering coyote on December 28, 2005 6:20 PM

I'm glad SOMEONE else thought about the Leia/Mother plot hole besides me. Since I am/was a huge SW geek, Leia being one of my favorite characters, this really bothered me. And I've only seen from Padme's "woman problem death" to the end of the movie. My son (6 years) wants to see the whole thing. I don't think that I can handle it though. Maybe I'll print off this guide and watch it that way. Can't hurt.

Posted by: Kathy on December 29, 2005 11:22 AM

The only good thing about these pictures is the torrents of vitriol they inspire. I think the most irksome thing to me was the fact that Lucas recycled beloved characters from the first trilogy despite the fact that it just raised more glaring plot holes.

Like the fact that R2D2 and C3PO presided at Annikin & Padme's wedding but somehow Darth Vader doesn't recognize them later. He BUILT C3PO, for god's sake! And neither droid remembers anything that might be helpful to, say, Luke or Leia later on? Aaargh!

And what about the fact that Chewbacca is a fucking GENERAL on his planet. And yet later he's taking orders from space pirate Han Solo. (And don't get me started on the wookie Tarzan yell -- *shudder*.)

George Lucas must be the world's richest, worst movie director of all time. Thank god it's over and with luck, I'll never have to hear the words "my young padewan" ever again. I can't even think about the midichlorians without devolving into some kind of logic-impaired robot: "Does not compute. Does not compute."

Posted by: girlygirl on January 4, 2006 10:36 AM

My theory about the Force is that using your mind to move rocks around rather than figuring things out is an abuse of the mind, which in the long run makes a person stupid. This theory explains the behavior of the Sith and the Jedi.

Posted by: paradoctor on January 22, 2006 1:43 AM